Monday, November 01, 2004

Dead Voters

With the recent trend toward early voting and absentee voting, there's a loophole in some states' election laws. What happens if you vote early, then die before election day? In some states, they will pull your ballot out and not count it. But new electronic voting systems don't allow that to happen if you voted early. So there are states where a person who died while fighting in Iraq could have his vote not count, while a person who voted early and then died would have her vote counted. Add to that the difficulty of determining after the fact which voters were alive on election day, and you have one royal mess. What do you do with someone who dies on the morning of November 2 before the polls open?

To me, the more important thing is to prevent people who are dead at the time of voting from casting a ballot. If someone was alive and lucid enough to vote when their ballot was marked, whether they cast it early, by absentee, or the day of the election, I have no problem with accepting their vote. I don't know why we have to go to the trouble of requiring that people stay alive through the day of the election in order for their votes to count. It made sense if everyone had to show up on election day to vote, but that's not the way it is anymore. If we're going to encourage all this early voting, we'd better change the archaic rules.